Hugh Masekela – Hope

Over the last few years I've picked up a few records by Hugh Masekela. The south african trumpeteer has been releasing them for way longer than I've been born and I guess I still have quite a few to collect. A couple of years ago I bought his record on Bernie Grundman's 'Straight ahead' records, 'Almost like being in jazz'. It was immaculately produced and presented but the music left me somewhat cold. It was literally 'straight ahead' jazz but didn't seem to have much to stand out.

In 2004 Hugh performed live at Washington, D.C.'s Blues Alley and ran through a selection of his classic tracks from over the years. 'Grazing in the grass' is there as is 'Stimela(The Coal Train)'(Coltrane??).

Some like 'Lakuta' are fairly standard, but most appealing, jazz with the trumpet obviously to the fore, but for the most part this double 45rpm set is full of the african rhythms and also vocals from the townships of South Africa where Hugh might have grown up. Its a vibrant, thrilling set of songs, a classic collision of the best musicianship and the joy of African music. I can only imagine what it was like to be there that night. It would have been pure heaven for me.

The aforementioned 'Stimela' is the last track on the album, out of 7 tracks and is a ten minute epic. This political tale of the trains that run to the mines in South Africa from all across the continent send the blood cold and the music is shocking and thrilling, tension builds and you are drawn into a frenzy. You stamp your feet and shake your head as you bow your will to that of the music. It reaches into the deepest emotions, most primitive feelings and is thoroughly rivetingly gripping.

Not only is the music of the highest quality, the musicianship peerless but the sound quality, particularly for a live environment is equally stunning. The realism, space and depth is astounding, the detail wonderful. We are blessed that such an excellent engineer was on hand that night to capture the performance. And that Analogue productions elected to put this out on the 45rpm dbl lp set that we have here. You can't get better sound than this and you really should snap this up before it is gone. Its $50 dollars but you'll never regret it. The only downside is the packaghing is flimsy and minimal, but the inner sleeves are the plastic lined paper ones that do keep your records in excellent condition.

Eleanor McEvoy – Out There

Eleanor McEvoy – Out There

 Diverse records has been one of my favourite record labels. I've been disappointed because they have been very quiet for the past couple of years. But I am delighted to see the following announcement. Eleanor McEvoy's 'Yola' was magnificent. I have not heard this new album but hope it reaches the same highs.

 

We are delighted to announce that the next release on the Diverse Records label will be the 5th album by the Irish singer songwriter, Eleanor McEvoy "Out There".

Forever associated with 'Only A Woman's Heart', massively underrated Irish singer songwriter Eleanor McEvoy raises the stakes with an ambitious self-produced, self-arranged album. It tackles Marvin Gaye and Lowell George and includes a Dave Rotheray collaboration along with her own immaculately tuneful, lyrically potent tales of love and life.
"Out There" has already been a hit at the hi fi shows this year on SACD, but along with "Early Hours" and the repress of "Yola", we're hoping it's going to sound even better on the Diverse label proprietory 180g audiophile vinyl.

As usual, mastering duties will be handled by Ray Staff at Alchemy Mastering, and pressing at Pallas in Germany. Release date to be confirmed at the moment, so please keep your eye out for more news as it breaks.

Useful link: http://www.diverserecords.com